Training and mentoring in construction
Construction is desperate for skilled people
The construction industry is desperate for skilled and experienced people, so it’s important to train people. A skilled workforce can work faster, more safely and produce better quality. Having skilled workers makes the job of construction managers, supervisors and foremen much easier. A skilled construction worker requires less supervision. They often know what to do and how to do it, and they don’t need all the intricate details of the task explained to them.
Everyone wants to develop, grow, learn new skills, be promoted and take on new responsibilities.
Why isn't the construction industry training people?
Regrettably many managers don’t train their people. I hear all kinds of excuses, the most common is that there isn’t time and we can’t spare the person for a few days or weeks to attend a training course. Other excuses include, training is expensive, once the person is trained they’ll want a pay increase, or they’ll leave the company when they’re better qualified. Sure, training does take time and cost money, and sometimes employees will ask for a pay increase when they’re qualified, and some may even leave the company for a better job.
But, the benefits of training far outweigh these excuses. Indeed, a trained and skilled construction worker is a valuable asset to construction companies. A skilled construction worker is safer, more productive and produces better quality than a less skilled worker – so yes, maybe the person will deserve a pay increase when they’re successfully qualified and proved their skills have improved. But, the benefits go further than this. Employees that are sent on training courses often become more motivated because they sense that the company sees a future in them and is prepared to invest in them. Certainly, some newly trained individuals will leave the company, but many will become more loyal, since they’ll appreciate the company investing in them and their future. Other workers will see that the contractor is sending employees on training courses and they’ll become more motivated, working harder so that they can be selected to attend training. Indeed, I’ve had huge success by training my people and I’ve been handsomely rewarded with their improved skills, loyalty and diligence.
Sometimes contractors only look at the short term. They don’t plan for the next construction project, for next year and the years after that. They’ll say it’s pointless training someone because there might not be a next project. But guess what, there usually is a next job, then there’ll be the same excuse again, and guess what, there’ll be another construction project! So why battle from one construction project to the next with poorly skilled workers. But, having good skilled workers will probably help the contractor get further projects. Skilled workers enhance a contractor’s reputation, and improved productivity from skilled workers will ultimately reduce the company’s costs, resulting in the contractor submitting more competitive prices and winning more construction work.
Getting construction training right
Of course training must be done for the right reasons. It must be training in a skill which the person doesn’t have and also a skill that the contractor can use on the construction project, and hopefully on following projects. Effective training is dependent on a number of factors. Firstly, the person must want to be trained in that skill. Training a reluctant trainee is usually a waste of money. Management must be committed to send the person on the training course. Importantly, the construction supervisor (foreman or superintendent) must be prepared to utilise the person’s newly acquired skill, which includes mentoring and coaching the person further. Regrettably, many training programs only provide the theory and basic training, but this is of little use without further practical on the job training and an opportunity to practice the newly learned skills.
Unfortunately, not all training courses and providers are what they should be. There are many poor training providers and these are costly, since there’s the cost of the course, plus the cost of the person’s time attending the training course, and often the qualification obtained is worthless, or worse the person has learned bad habits. Always check that the course curriculum will provide the desired end result. Some providers are prepared to modify their training courses to include things that you think would be more suitable to your employees. When the trainee returns to work quiz them to find out what they thought of the course and the provider. Poor feedback means you should avoid sending others on the course.
Different forms of construction training
Construction training doesn’t always have to be courses held away from the project. Some providers are willing to provide training on the construction project, providing the project can supply sufficient people for the course. This is useful since part of the practical training outcomes is usually contributing to the project’s progress.
Training is not only about technical skills. Teaching the soft skills is often just as important, whether it's sound management practices, communication, delegation, conflict resolution, etc. Then there's financial principles, contractual issues and productivity. But even a good understanding of the company's procedures is essential.
Another valuable form of training is onsite mentoring. Now I know that construction managers, supervisors and foremen are always hectically busy and don’t have time for another task. But, every time you find a fault, show the person the right way to do the task. Sure, it takes a little more time, but hopefully the person won’t repeat the mistake. Most people in construction are poor delegators. The common excuse is that no one is capable of doing the task. But they never bother to show anyone how to do the task. Showing someone in the team once will allow you to be able to delegate the task next time to that person. After all, most of us were taught by someone else.
Of course leading by example is an essential part of mentoring. So if you’re diligent, hardworking, safety conscious and take pride in good quality work, your team should follow your example. However, if you criticise company management, don’t follow the company or project rules, accept poor safety and bad quality, and skip out of the project during working hours, then you can expect your team to follow your poor example.
Construction training will pay dividends
Good and effective training will pay dividends. It will result in better motivated workers who will accomplish tasks quicker, more safely and with better quality. It will result in the need for fewer workers and less supervision and management. It will result in better productivity, fewer mistakes and less rework. It will mean happier clients and the possibility of future projects.
Don't look for an excuse why you're can't train people, rather see the long-term benefits which will more than outweigh the short-term inconvenience and costs of training.
The construction industry is desperate for skilled construction workers, supervisors, foremen and construction managers. Your construction projects and construction company is desperate for skilled people. You can make a difference by training your crew.
Please like and share this article.
Have you had success training your team?
Do you want to learn how to manage construction projects and construction companies successfully?
This article is an extract from my book 'The Successful Construction Supervisor and Foreman' which is packed with construction project management tips and advice.
I've written several easy to read construction management books for owners, contractors, construction managers, construction supervisors and foremen. They cover all aspects of construction management and are filled with tips and insights.
The books are available in paper and ebook from most online stores including Amazon.
Need help with your construction project or construction company?
Contact me for help and advice.
To read more about the author’s books and find out where you can purchase them visit the pages on this website by clicking the links below:
To read more about the author visit the page 'Paul Netscher'
Want to contact Paul Netscher please enter your details on 'Contacts'
Find out how Paul Netscher can help you
© 2019 This article is not to be reproduced for commercial purposes without written permission from the author.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
construction management construction project management
31/10/2019 03:26:50 pm
9/11/2019 05:19:23 pm
Waw! Its so great post. I read your blog post is very helpful and its so great information. Thanks for this sharing...
22/8/2020 07:07:58 pm
This is an explosive idea; this is most probably the best and most successful thing about construction management blog training and mentoring in construction. I love this blog and really happy to come across this exceptionally well written content. Thanks for sharing!!
26/3/2021 12:35:39 pm
You made a good point when you shared that it is important to provide a training program in order to acquire skilled and experienced people in the construction industry. My friend just mentioned the other day that her husband is planning to work in the construction industry since he heard that the pay is better than what is currently doing. I will suggest to her looking for a reliable place that can offer the suitable training program for her husband.
If you want to be a construction manager, first of all, you need to understand construction. Start on site, and understand the process from the ground up. I think that this should be a given, for although your theories might feel spot on, there is still that need to truly see and feel the atmosphere of the site for you to truly be effective.
20/5/2021 07:05:15 am
It really helped when you said that the construction industry needs experienced and skilled people. Like you said, experienced construction workers can produce better quality and requires less supervision. I think I should advise my brother to look for hiring construction jobs near his neighborhood, since he has more than 10 years experience in the field.
9/7/2021 10:33:39 pm
I would like to hire a construction manager that knows when to send a new employee to be trained for a job they'll need to be done soon. That reassures me that they plan ahead and know what they're doing. Something I could never do if I tried to do my own construction on my house.
6/11/2021 01:16:08 am
I am thankful that this post mentioned that one of the many benefits of recruiting skilled and trained contractors is that it benefits the company as they can maintain quality. The other day my brother mentioned he is looking to hire an industrial contractor to help him with his business. I will definitely remind him to consider their training and professionalism before hiring a company.
Leave a Reply.
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
Copyright 2016 - The attached articles cannot be reproduced for commercial purposes without the consent of the author.
The opinions expressed in the attached articles are those of the writer. It should be noted that projects are varied and different laws and restrictions apply which depend on the location of the contractor and the project. It's important that the reader uses the supplied information taking cognisance of their particular circumstances. The writer assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss of any kind arising from the reader using the information or advice contained herein.
"I have what I consider some of the best books on construction management."
Books are available from:
Other retail stores
Available in paperback or on Kindle
"28 YEARS OF CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGEMENT EXPERIENCE, DEVELOPING SUCCESSFUL CONSTRUCTION PROJECT MANAGERS AND BUILDING SUCCESSFUL CONSTRUCTION COMPANIES"